The turbocharged engine and CVT team up to give the Civic Hatchback extremely good performance
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Honda has been highly successful this year after introducing several new models.
While the City subcompact, which got a facelift, and all-new CR-V may contribute much to Honda’s total sales this year, the Japanese automaker is also giving importance to more exclusive models such as the Civic Hatchback Turbo.
Banking on the success of the Civic sedan, which has won over 35,000 customers since its launch last year, the 5-door hatchback model is available only with the VTEC Turbo engine and carries a price tag of Bt1.169 million.
The car was introduced in March this year and Honda hopes that it will help the Civic maintain leadership in the compact car segment with an additional body variant in order to better compete with rivals such as the Ford Focus and Mazda3.
I drove the tenth generation Civic sedan last year and was impressed with the advancements being given to the new model. While the sedan is available in many trim levels and a normally-aspirated 1.8-litre VTEC engine, the hatchback comes only with the 1.5-litre turbocharged engine.
Developed under Honda’s “Earth Dreams technology”, the turbocharged engine and CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) team up to give the Civic Hatchback extremely good performance as well as fuel economy.
Maximum power is claimed at 173 horsepower at 5,500rpm while maximum torque of 220Nm is available from 1,700-5,500rpm. The wide torque band gives the Civic Hatchback effortless acceleration, with 0-100km/h taking roughly 8.4 seconds.
The CVT is responsive and contributes to low fuel consumption (17.2km/litre according to the Eco Sticker), while CO2 emission is 137g/km. There’s a sport mode with steering wheel shift paddles to add some spice to the drive, but after a few days with the car, I still feel like driving one with a nice manual gearbox. Unfortunately, there is very low demand for a manual transmission vehicle in the country, and Honda has decided against selling it in the country.
The front strut and rear multi-link suspension offers a good degree of comfort and isn’t too sporty, although overall the Civic Hatchback Turbo handles pretty well. You won’t get that razor-sharp steering or racetrack cornering performance like you’d expect from a Type-R, but compared to previous Civic models this is already a huge improvement.
The steering wheel is overloaded with all sorts of buttons, including a rather flimsy volume control, but thankfully the overall dimensions are pretty okay. The interior design is as futuristic as the exterior, and I’m happy with the quality of materials and assembly quality. There is ample storage area between the front seats that you can securely place drinks, smartphones and stuff. However, the lower part of the cabin isn’t as impressive and feels pretty cheap particularly the lower door panels.
The front seats look sporty, but without red stitching, appears incomplete for a sporty car like the Civic Hatchback. The rear seat backrests are split-folding and there’s a retractable cover to keep the luggage compartment concealed.
The Civic comes with a 7-inch touchscreen and a reasonably good infotainment system with Apple CarPlay. There’s also a remote engine start function that allows you to cool the cabin before entering, which is great for super-hot countries like ours.
While the Civic Hatchback Turbo is a great all-round product, it is positioned in the upper range and represents a rather limited boost to Honda's sales in Thailand.
What I would love to see is not a 5-door hatchback version of the Civic or the coupe (which was offered in the past), but the 3-door version that doesn’t even need the turbo engine (normal VTEC is fine), comes with manual transmission and of course much lower retail pricing (fewer doors, lower price).
I’d probably place an order for one, and I’m sure many other 3-door hatchback lovers will too. But for now, there’s just the sedan and 5-door models to go for in the Civic lineup, which is still the one to go for in the compact car segment.
Honda Civic Hatchback
Engine: DOHC 16-valve VTEC turbo
Bore and stroke: 73.0x89.5mm
Compression ratio: 10.6:1
Max power: 173ps/5,500rpm
Max torque: 220Nm/1,700-5,500rpm
Final drive ratio: 4.81
0-100kmh: 8.4 secs
Top speed: 200km/h
Average fuel economy: 17.2km/litre
Average CO2: 137g/km
Suspension (f/r): McPherson strut, stabiliser/multi-link. stabiliser
Steering: powered rack-and-pinion
Turning circle: 10.6 metres
Brakes (f/r): vented disc/disc
Track (f/r): 1,547/1,563
Weight: 1,316 kgs
Tyres: 215/50 R17
Fuel tank capacity: 47 litres
Price: Bt1.169 million
Distributor: Honda Automobiles (Thailand) Co Ltd